Well Being at Edge Hill

It’s nearly Christmas! Whilst it’s easy to get swept up in the festivities and look forward to the break, it’s also a time to remember to look after yourself and your well-being, as it can be a stressful time – with the first set of deadlines and exams start approaching, and the second lot of student loan still a few weeks away! But fear not, the well-being service at Edge Hill is brilliant, and will help you deal with everything from the smallest of concerns to bigger matters.

Like the Careers Centre (as written about last week), the Well Being team is based in the Student Information Centre (SIC) and also in Milton House – a Uni partnered counselling service just off campus.

The well-being team can deal with issues to do with stress, anxiety, general worries, low mood/depression, sexual health, diet and exercise and course issues, amongst other things. It is also a great place to go if you feel like you just need to talk to someone for a while.

If further assistance is required, Milton House offers a confidential and professional counselling service which is available to all at Edge Hill, and is within walking distance of the Ormskirk campus.

Milton House- Just off Ormskirk Campus

Although all of the staff in the SIC are super friendly and will do anything they can to answer your questions – they understand that walking in to the centre and talking to a stranger straight away isn’t in everybody’s comfort zone – you can contact them through email, telephone, or through the Let Us Know system – which allows you to contact the team online about either yourself or someone you have concerns about. All the details are available on the Edge Hill website – linked  here.

Au Revoir!!

My last ever blog after a year and a half! It’s been great updating you all on what happens at Edge Hill and how I wish I was starting all over again (I’m not jealous I swear!)

I have received my graduation picture and certificate in the post meaning I am officially a Graduate of Edge Hill University. As a past student of Edge Hil, I am part of the Edge Hill Alumni. So I will be updated on all the exciting things that are going on at Edge Hill and the new updates to the campus i.e. the new library! But as my parting gift I am going I share my Top 10 tips for Uni!

1. Be prepared! It’s hard to know what uni will be like before you actually get there, but read the student blogs, get in contact with people on social media that may be living with you next year! Sometimes preparation is half the battle and may make your settling in period a lot easier!

2. Take all your essentials to uni, and if you can buy the rest in Ormskirk! This will save you from having too much to transport on moving day! Either way make sure you have enough money to buy everything you mean! This leads me nicely onto…

3. Budget! For shopping, food, outings, stationary, bills! Is better to have more money than planned than not enough!

4. Independence is amazing at uni! You can do what you want when you want, but don’t abuse this! Look after your body, health and mental wellbeing. Take breaks when you’ve done enough work and stay happy!

5. Ensure you have everything you need for your course, this means equipment, stationary and maybe books! Some courses require summer reading so being ready with the knowledge you’ve learnt can be a huge help at the beginning of your course.

6. Make that extra effort! By this I mean with your housemates, your uni work and especially friends and family at home! They will miss you, so don’t forget everyone you may have left at home! Just because they aren’t around doesn’t mean you should forget them!

7. Transport! Have you sorted this for uni? You may just be walking, great- but make sure you have comfy shoes and a thick coat for the winter months! Driving to uni? Ensure you’ve applied for a parking permit and set off early so you miss traffic (reducing the stress!).

8. Home comforts are a must- this can be slippers, dressing gown or even a favourite picture of your family! You need to make YOUR space a home away from home, so make it cosy and most importantly make it work for you!

9. Be organised, start your assignments as soon as you get them and therefore you can keep on top of your work! There’s nothing worse than having too much to do with so little time to do it!

10. Put on a smile! A smile goes a long way in making friends as it makes you more approachable! It also can make you feel generally happier and therefore you too are more likely to socialise!

So I wish you new beginners a fantastic time at Uni, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Good luck!!!

Results Day

Hey everyone!

As August is here that means there is a very important day on the horizon: Results Day.

Some of you out there may have already received you results and know that you’ll be heading to uni in September.

For some of you though there’s still a little waiting involved before you know if you achieved the results you want to get into uni.

I remember feeling petrified for weeks before results came out. I was constantly worrying about what my results would be, and if I would get the grades I needed to go to uni at all.

It’s a big day, and nerves are high all round.

I remember I couldn’t sleep at all the night before Results Day. Instead me and my sister grabbed some blankets and snacks and held a movie marathon in the living room.

The sugar rush was just about enough to calm my nerves down for a little while.

In the end I had to remember that I had tried my best, and things were out of my control now.

And looking back on it now, I still remember the stress of Results Day but I also remember the great feeling that came when I saw my results were better than I expected and I was officially starting uni in September!

Many of you will start that journey in a couple of months time, and looking back on it two years later I can tell you the nerves are a normal part of the process!

Many of you will receive the results you need for the place at your Firm or Insurance university.

For those of you who don’t, although it can be a little disappointing there are still plenty of options that can still help you start uni in September.

My next blog will be all about Clearing, what that is and how the process works, and I’m hoping that will help some of you realise Results Day isn’t the end of the road.

No matter what the outcome, be proud of yourself for making it this far in the journey and rely on the people around you to help calm your nerves.

As soon as I received my results I had chocolate cake for breakfast to celebrate (I would definitely recommend it to you all!)

Quote for the day: “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” -Unknown

Until next time

-Becki 🙂

On Reflection!

Reflecting on my three years at Uni I am able to say what I would change if I could do it all again (I wish!). I wouldn’t take my time for granted and I would use all the little but detrimental hunts and tips I learnt straight away!

So as a third year I feel it is my duty to pass on this inherited wisdom to all you lucky freshers!

  •  Find little shortcuts and use them! Go exploring, go for a walk at night! Try different doors (within reason!) you might just stumble upon a shortcut or a safe little haven away from the hassle and bustle!
  • Make as many friends as you can! Even if you find it hard put on an extra big smile and throw out some compliments! The more friends you have the merrier and the more opportunities you will have throughout your time at uni!
  • Take up as many opportunities as possible… Don’t say NO! (Unless you have an assignment due- bad idea!). Venture to the SU on week nights, after all you’ll remember memories more than having an early night! The different nights (I.e. Karaoke night) are a real hit and are absolutely hilarious!
  • Work hard… But play hard! Uni is all about balance and making sure you have he best of both worlds is absolutely essential! The more effort you put into your work the more you will get out of it! Uni is extremely rewarding! The effort you put into uni will show when you get your coursework, assignment and exam results and you should proud of yourself!
  • Be proud to study, as I said before, uni is all about balance but don’t be afraid to say no and study hard! Basically, don’t bow down to peer pressure, stay true to yourself and do what makes you happy!

So these are all the little things I wish I’d have known! I hope this helps you!

Keeping in touch at uni

I’ve got to be honest, I’m surprised how well I have kept in touch with my friends at home over the last three years. My friendship group has not only retained most of it’s members, its expanded as we have introduced each other to our uni friends/boyfriends/girlfriends etc. It’s really not all that difficult to keep your friends and family up to date with your new life, although it may seem really daunting at first! To help with this, I’ve compiled a few tips to help you get your head around juggling home and uni friendships.

Skype or Facetime

I never used facetime or Skype all that much before uni. I eventually discovered, however, that they are probably the best ways to communicated with your friends and family when you’re not around them very often. I recommend, at least in the first term of uni, you arrange specific times every week/couple of weeks to facetime or skype your friends and family. This means that you always know when you’re going to ‘see’ them and it gives you something to look forward to if you’ve had a long day. If you’re parents are technophobes like mine, maybe take some time to teach them how to use skype before you go off to uni. This could be a fun (or frustrating) bonding activity that you hopefully won’t regret!

Group Chats

I swear by group chats, it’s how I sort out my social life and keep up to date with everything going on with all my different friendship groups. Maybe sort out different group chats for different friends (school, dance class, uni etc) so you can figure out what they are all up to and arrange meet ups when you’re all in the same area. I find this is a great way to let all your friends know any big news and just generally chat with them. Group chats are the best.

Visits

Nothing will stop you friend visiting home, or even inviting your friends and family to come and stay with you one weekend. It’s so nice to have a break from everything and return home, though this could be quite costly for some people who live far away. I highly recommend that you get a rail card before you start uni, this will save you so much more money than you spend on it. I also love having my friends from home come and visit Ormskirk, some of my friends have even been adopted as honorary parts of our uni friendship group because they have visited so often. It’s so lovely to see your old and new friends getting along together.

Enjoy yourself

You do need to keep in mind that you don’t have to constantly update the people at home, they’ll always be there. Try and take some time to spend with the people at uni and build upon those friendships too. Your friends and family will understand how busy uni is and shouldn’t expect you to have lengthy phone calls with them every night, you needn’t worry about keeping them up to date every day. So long as you don’t neglect them for months on end, your friendships will stay strong.

Until next time! 🙂

A Short Guide To Presentations

Many courses at Edge Hill University require you to present as part of your coursework. I don’t particularly enjoy presenting to an audience, but then again, I doubt many people do. However, one thing about presentations I do enjoy is the creation of the visual medium you present from. Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Slides – these are the tools of the trade. Although my experience is primarily from scientific presentations, hopefully, these tips can transcend course boundaries and aid people from any discipline!

Text

The most common mistake when creating a presentation is to fill it to the brim with words. When this happens, you run the risk of reading directly off the screen and overloading your audience with information. I’d suggest minimal words on the slides, relying more on visual information like pictures and diagrams. However, words are still very much necessary to convey key information. Any statistics, unfamiliar names, or important facts should be highlighted by having them on screen – preferably with a related image.

Theme

An important part of a presentation is the theme. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, as long as it’s consistent. All of the previously mentioned programs have built in themes, with more available to download. I’ve found that most of the time, simple is best.

Here, the theme revolves around three main colours, orange, lime and cyan. Not exactly harmonious colours, but the contrast allows me to get the point across visually in graphs and diagrams.
A simple theme of just orange and white, but making use of bolding to highlight key points, as well as images to provide further understanding and make the slides visually interesting.

Graphics

Equally as important as the theme are the graphics in a presentation. Use of pictures to engage the audience helps break up any lengthy sections of the presentation and provide further visual information. In my two examples here, you can see how the images of four different habitats become the background of the next slide detailing the environments, and the use of a full-slide map that was used to provide context to the presentation.

In the biological sciences, graphs are very useful to display key numerical information in a visually appealing way. When using graphs, colour coding is key – as are labels. If your graph is up to scratch, then no other written information should be necessary on the slide and any further clarification should be made verbally.

I hope these tips serve you well, and I wish you luck on any future presentations you make!

Student Bank Accounts

Hey everyone!

Hope you are all doing well and enjoying summer.

In the past I’ve written a few blogs about budgeting and student finance, today I wanted to focus on money again and give a few tips about Student Bank Accounts.

Some of you may have already set up a Student Account (I know my mum advised me to get it done fairly quickly so I wouldn’t have to worry about it later.)

If not, don’t worry! It’s a really easy process, and definitely worth it in the long run.

I set up my Student Account the summer before I started uni, and the great thing about some Student Bank Accounts is the incentives they offer.

My Student Account offered a free 16-25 rail card, which saves me 1/3 on train fares. That has served me very well over the last two years of uni.

As I travel home on the train every reading week and at the end of the semester, I’ve saved an unbelievable amount on travel without having to buy a rail card myself.

A lot of other accounts offer different incentives. From the research I did before I started uni, some banks will throw in an Amazon Gift Card when you open your account (which may be useful for buying some things from your reading list!)

Of course it’s not compulsory to open a specific Student Account, but I would recommend looking into whether it would help you.

The free perks can actually be super handy throughout your time at uni and even beyond. Now it’s summer I’ve used my rail card a couple of times, for days out and to visit uni friends. It’s always nice to be saving money, especially as a student!

Student Bank Accounts also tend to come with interest free Overdrafts, with no charge for using it.

Although overdrafts can be quite useful, I would definitely say be careful with them! Just because you have a £1500 overdraft doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about how much money you spend.

I treat my overdraft as a back up. It’s there in case there are any problems, a safety net if I’m coming towards the end of my Student Loan. It’s definitely put my mind at ease to know I have my overdraft in case of an emergency.

I hope you found this useful, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave me a comment!

Next week I’ll focus on something a bit more fun, the famous Freshers Week.

Quote for the day: ‘Money, money, money.’ – Mr Krabs

Until next time!

Becki 🙂

Homesickness

Hey everyone!

Hope you are all doing well this week. Today I’m going to be talking about homesickness, and ways to deal with it while you are at uni.

When you start your degree you will meet people who have travelled a long way to study their degree. There will be people from as close as Manchester to people from as far away as China, and everywhere in between.

Starting university is a big moment for everybody, and is always a little daunting. For students who travel further for their degree, there’s always the chance of suffering from homesickness.

It’s natural to miss home. If you’re like me, you will have spent the first 18 years of your life surrounded by your family, living in the same place and living nearby friends.

Once I moved away to Ormskirk I was worried about not seeing my friends very often and missing my family.

The truth is you will miss people, but thanks to the joys of technology it’s much easier to stay in contact with people from home.

A simple phone call to stay updated on what’s happening with your friends can work wonders, it always helped me when I was feeling a little down.

Skype is one of the best ways to stay in touch, not only can you talk to friends and family but you can see them. This makes it feel like you’re still at home, and you can never miss it too much because it’s only a phone call away!

The first few weeks I had at uni me and my family would Skype every week or so. It really helped me to adjust, and I would definitely recommend a quick phone call to check in whenever you feel a little homesick.

At the start of the academic year the Students Union at Edge Hill usually run a Homesickness workshop, which anyone can attend, and offers guidance on how to overcome homesickness.

One other thing I would recommend is to keep yourself busy! As my workload started to increase over the semester I skyped home a little less, but I didn’t miss home quite as much.

Keeping your mind occupied on work or having fun with friends will make the time go by a little faster, meaning you’ll be one step closer to visiting home.

Although I still missed my family and friends when I was away in second year I find I also miss uni and my friends there while I’m at home.

The best advice I can give is to always have fun and stay in contact with friends and family, then you’ll never feel like you’re too far away from home.

 

Until next time!

Becki 🙂

Making Friends and Meeting People

Hey everyone!

As June draws to a close a lot of you will be nearing the end of the college year (if you haven’t already finished!)

That means you’ll be focusing on waiting for results day and preparing for uni.

One of the biggest fears I think most people have about starting uni is that they won’t know anyone.

If you decide to live on campus, or in accommodation in Ormskirk, chances are you won’t have met the people you will soon be living with.

Even if you live at home, starting a degree means you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of new people in seminars and lectures.

It’s natural to feel a little bit scared about that. I know you will have heard this a million times already but every one is in the exact same boat as you.

I remember being really nervous before I came to uni, wondering how I was possibly going to interact with my flatmates and make new friends whilst trying to study, find my way around campus and adjust to living away from my family.

The truth is I didn’t need to be nervous about any of it. I really enjoyed my first few weeks at Edge Hill, and all the people I met along the way were a huge part of that.

It pushed me out of my comfort zone a little, but it led to forming some friendships that have made my uni experience all the more exciting.

Although it may be a little daunting at first, everyone wants to settle in and everyone wants to enjoy their experience at uni. And everyone you meet at Edge Hill is willing to go the extra mile.

In first week a History tutor walked us to the building our seminar was in because we were very, very lost. On the way I got talking to the other girls with me, and we ended up spending the next few weeks together in seminar and lectures we shared.

Every experience is an opportunity to meet people from so many different places, and an opportunity to reach out and make a new friend.

My biggest tip for you when you start uni is to be open and just smile as much as you can! If people see you smiling they’re likely to strike up a conversation and you never know what might happen.

 

Quote for the day: “It’s the friends we meet along the way that help us appreciate the journey.” -Unknown

 

Until next time!

Becki 🙂

 

Food budgeting 101

Hello all, hope you’ve been enjoying the sunshine that’s hit us recently!

As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to do a follow up on the topic of food and eating, but specifically budgeting for your meals throughout the week.

In September, my budget for food was drastically different to what it is now, but you learn to budget for your requirements throughout your first year at Uni. The main thing that I changed in order to cut down my food budget was to stop relying on branded food. We all have our favourite food brands- McCain’s, Coco Pops, the list could go on – but the unbranded stuff doesn’t get the love and appreciation it deserves (other than from students!).

Around Ormskirk there are some great food shops for students, I’d say we had the best selection for a University. There’s a Morrison’s, Aldi, Poundland, Iceland and Poundstretcher. I didn’t know how fussy I’d be with shopping, as I usually go to Asda with my family and I didn’t know how different prices would be and what these shops would stock in comparison. However, I’m very much converted to Morrison’s and Aldi! Sometimes I can get meals for about 3 days for about £5! It all just comes down to a few main things:

  • Stick to your budget. The moment you break from it, the more relaxed you become with your weekly budget and the less money you’ll have for social events and such.
  • Stick to your shopping list. And make a list! If you don’t, you tend to cruise the aisles and just grab stuff willingly, which can cost you money you could have otherwise used for different things.
  • Treat yourself, but not too often. This is mostly applicable to the things such as buying your branded food and things such as desserts and indulgence snacks.
  • Don’t be afraid of the unbranded stuff! Morrison’s Savers and Aldi’s own brand food is so cheap in comparison, yet tastes just as good or even better 9 times out of 10!

A good thing to do before you arrive is to check on the websites for the shops I listed above and see what kind of food they sell and at what prices, so that you have an idea of what to expect upon arriving at Edge Hill and to Ormskirk. I think Ormskirk is one of the best towns for students, both socially and for the “adult” things such as grocery shopping!

Hope these tips will help you!